Thursday, November 06, 2008

Autumn Vacation 2008, Part III

The next leg of the vacation took us to Brookgreen Gardens, outside the city of Myrtle Beach. In 1931, Archer and Anna Hyatt Huntington founded Brookgreen Gardens, a non-profit garden museum, to preserve the native flora and fauna and display objects of art within that natural setting. Today, Brookgreen Gardens is a National Historic Landmark with the most significant collection of figurative sculpture in an outdoor setting by American artists in the world and has the only zoo accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums on the coast of the Carolinas (taken from the official web site).

It was a beautiful day and we had a wonderful time. There are hundreds of sculptures, and hundreds of thousands of flowers, I am sure. The setting used to be three rice plantations, and our first order of the day was to go on a pontoon boat river ride with a great woman tour guide who had a wealth of information and presented it very well. These little alligators were giving us a little side show prior to the trip.



As we journeyed down the river, she told us all about the labor-intensive process of growing rice. Of course it was accomplished by slaves and done in the humid heat of summer. There is still some evidence remaining of the rice fields.



The foliage that you see floating on the water is called Water Hyacinth. I tried to get a picture of a blossom, but was unable to catch one as the boat moved past and my camera didn't move fast enough. This plant was brought to this country and introduced as a deterrent to erosion. Unfortunately, it backfired and has taken over in a way that is not healthy.


Oops - there's another gator, swimming among the water hyacinth.


Another plant that was brought (from Japan) for the same reason is kudzu. It is everywhere in Georgia, North and South Carolina, and is a huge problem. There is a lot of work being done to find or create good uses of this plant, which actually looks quite pretty until you realize it's smothering other kinds of growth. Nancy told me of a friend of hers who is using it very creatively.

Of course there is the Spanish moss, which is neither Spanish nor is it moss. But it's fascinating. (That's R&C on the left).



Remember in the Part II when I mentioned DC and his brother reverting back to their childhood personas when they are together? Check this out.

Next episode: More of Brookgreen Gardens - the flowers and sculptures.


Maine Mom said...

I'm glad you were on a guided tour boat with those gators around. :-)

Nadine said...

Great photos. I'm not sure I would want to be that close to alligators.

Christa said...

Like those gators!

Maine Mom said...

P.S. I tagged you!

Needled Mom said...

Those do not look like friendly waters for swimming. YIKES!

Isn't it amazing how those non native plants can become so troublesome?

The photos are pretty - very calm and relaxing. I can almost feel myself floating in the boat.

Izzy 'N Emmy said...

Very lovely photos of your vacation. Such a difference in plants but they are so pretty.

Nancy said...

I've never been here either. It's beautiful and interesting about the rice plantations.

The frost has put an end to the Kudzu architecture until next spring. If it's left unattended, it will start growing at the point where it stopped. The growth rate can be as much as a foot a day. The friend in my church, cooks with it, makes baskets and wreaths out of it, and makes a kind of jelly out of it. Go figure... only in the south.

Jess said...

It still sounds like a wonderful trip...and I think i might have been scared with all those crocs!

And as for your last post...we all need to be praying harder than we have ever prayed...

Have a great end of the week

Jess said...

sorry i said crocs...meant gators!

Barb said...

Oh my, such beautiful photos. But the gators would have made me very nervous.

The last photo just cracks me up. My father and his brothers acted exactly the same way, all the way into their 70's and 80's. I can only imagine what they were like when they were kids. LOL

Sammy said...

I love that picture of the brothers!

Great photos and captions to go along with them. I always have thought that kudzu was so pretty, but I understand that it's actually a bad thing to have around.

When I was in Florida a few years ago I was determined to see a gator. I looked and looked every day and finally on my last day of vacation I saw a few. They're so interesting to look at--from a distance!!

Hootin' Anni said...

We occasionally have alligators in our bayous around town. Once in a while we can see one crossing the streets...but very seldom. As for the Spanish Moss, I LOVE that stuff, it's actually a parasite. But it's still pretty. Especially when we go walking along the rivers here...very pretty and so, so "Southern". LOL

I came here to tell you that we were out driving around the newer section of some subdivision and the street names I read: "Loveland Pass" "Eldora" "Trappers Lake" "Fort Collins", etc, etc, don't suppose the contractor/builder was from Colorado do you? LOL

Maine Mom said...

Me again! To answer your question~ Matt does come home at night, but most of the time it is after the kids are asleep and sometimes when I am asleep. He gets up and leaves before we all wake up. The first week is almost done. :-) 2 more to go.

Linda said...

You do an amazing job with your camera. The pictures are just wonderful
The last one is hoot!!

Kathleen Marie said...

What a great vacation, even with the gators... It sounds so relaxing!

Sharon Lynne said...

Enjoyed the tour. DC does a great job at looking age 5.